Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New student orientation: welcome to the world of LIS education!

Today our School of Information held spring orientation for new students. Classes start again next Tuesday, 17 January. The orientation room was packed, many attended the post-orientation reception, and then students met individually with their faculty advisors. I welcomed three new advisees. We first met as a group, talking about the unique characteristics of graduate education, about Austin, and about the procedure we will follow during their time here. Then, each student met with me during an advising session. Advising is a process of mutual responsibility: I ask students to review their career goals, their interests, their aptitudes. We discussed the core classes, considered electives, and projected as far as we could into their program of studies. Yes, we discussed involvement in ALA and our state ALA chapter, TLA. They were eager and interested, more mature and stronger academically than I was entering my LIS program at the U of Arizona. We stopped by our IT Lab so they could secure their iSchool accounts. I turned in their advising slips and they were off. The next time I see them I will recognize the features of student stress--but beneath their weak smiles and harried schedules, I know that I will see their strengths shine through. The new academic semester is about to begin and I have much to do.